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  • Thursday, 22 September 2016

    The military battles for retaining status

    Posted on 21/09/2016 by Dailyexcelsior   
    Harsha Kakar
    The seventh pay commission as announced was unacceptable to the military and left them simmering due to lowering of their status as compared to their counterparts from other central services. The absurdity of the pay commission chief, to justify his actions by aiming to create equality in all cadres joining through a common exam (civil services exam), indicated his personal enmity against the military. I wonder if the learned judge was aware, that the military inducts its officer cadre at a much younger age, where the competition is equally severe. Further, he would neither have been briefed (as there was no military representative), that selection to the military is far more stringent than other services. The four- day interview has been known to be a rejection criterion rather than a selection one. It only approves those select few, with qualities of patriotism and leadership. There are no quotas allocated to the selection boards. Hence, it is this specially selected lot, which has sacrificed its life for the nation, countless times.
    I wonder which other service can boast of such intense national pride and sacrifice. Yet, since independence the military has been systematically downgraded, which it accepted without a murmur. Even its pensions, which were initially 70% were brought down in the third pay commission (1973) to 50%, with a promise of OROP, which remained ignored for decades. This was an intentional action, as it occurred post India’s biggest victory over Pakistan and the commission for the first time, had no military representative. The final release of OROP was below promised levels, however, the formation of the Reddy commission to look into the anomalies, has presently quelled fires.
    While dissent is acceptable in a democracy, the same may not be said for the military. Civilian employees agitated against the pay commission award, to which the government immediately responded positively. A threat of strike by them, makes the government rush to accept demands. However, military discipline and ethos does not permit itto resort to such action. In every case, where it has felt downgraded or affected, it has voiced its concerns and left the decision makers, which comprise the polity and bureaucracy to resolve the issue. Thus over the years, anomalies and disagreements have piled up, with no end in sight. Knowing that a disciplined force would never resort to any undemocratic means, they are heard and subsequently ignored.
    Further, the pay commission came immediately after the OROP agitation, which was followedon social media by members of the military, after all every soldier of today is a potential veteran of tomorrow. 93% of the military, retires between the ages of 35 to 45,after having sacrificed their youth for the country and then are ignored and dumped. The agitation was aimed at protecting future retirees. The subsequent anomalies and downgrading the status of the military in the pay commission further impacted the organization. Disgruntlement only increased and became more visible. The committee of secretaries ordered by the government to resolve the differences, had no military member, hence its decision was the final nail in the coffin.
    The battle for status involves more than just salary. In fact, salary has never been the issue. The status impact comes to the fore when the military functions with different Government agencies in matters concerning national security and calamities. Its lowered status makes working with bureaucrats and civil police officials more complicated, as it alters the rank structure,hence affects coordination and cooperation. The nation works on status;therefore, a higher status officer would never cooperate or be willing to work jointly with a junior from another service. Simultaneously, within the military are civilian members of other central services. A change in status affects its organization and working structure.
    The glaring anomalies left behind over years of down gradation have made members of the military, feel like second class citizens serving the nation. While the head of the pay commission, had clearly shown his anger and hatred for the military, by degrading them, the Government and its so-called mature senior bureaucratic leadership did no better. The words of the Prime Minister praising the military, his spending Diwali with troops and senior lady ministers tying Rakhi to soldiers in remote areas, in reality appear to be actions of publicity, rather than genuine concern.
    Never in the history of the country had the service chiefs been compelled, to openly refuse to accept the recommendations of the pay commission, but the writing on the wall of dissent across the rank and file was clear. They realized, that they need to serve whom they command, rather than their political leaders. Had theyrelented, they would have been accused of a sell-out, which would remain a blotch, on their otherwise spectacular career. Hence, such an action was resorted to. It had to indicate to the political leadership, in clear terms,that enough damage had been done and it was time to rectify the same.Taking the silent military for granted and treating them as second class citizens, had to stop. It also conveyed that concerns are genuine and unless immediate action is taken, there would be lack of coordination, when operations are launched jointly. The present is also a challenging time, as the military battles increased terrorism and supports the police in restoring normalcy in the Valley even as it faces severe loss of life as in the recent Uri encounter.
    However, a disciplined force always remains one. The message has been conveyed and Government action awaited. The words of service chiefs are gospel down the line (unlike any other Government service), hence though there would remain murmurs, however trust and faith in the system would be restored. The soldier has to look up the organization tree for satisfaction and they cannot let him down. It is now upto the defence and Prime Ministers to prove their genuine concern for the military and restore its rightful status. If they fail to do so, all their actions so far, would be viewed by the nation as a publicity stunts and their promises hollow. The nation is proud of its military and knows it would never be let down. Therefore, in the ultimate analysis, it is for the people of India to observe government action in correcting the wrongs done on the silent and dependable military and decide whether the present political leadership can be trusted to keep their words. If they fail to keep their promise, then the nation can reconsider whom to vote for, in the coming elections.
    (The author is retired Major  General in Indian Army)


    1. One should not give much important to this type of biased write up. The 'status' is not the prerogative of officer class
      alone. What about the status of Jawans?. The official status of a Jawan of 1947 and 2016 are same. There is no change even after 70 years of independence. Who is to be blamed for this pity state? Babus or his own boss?

      1. Officers and eventhough chiefs of three forces are only bother about their status and money,salary. They never bothered about the jawans. They themselves treat them as slave and on the name and shake of discipline, they have compelled the jawans to do slavery. Just read the blogs and see the wording used by my veteran Maj Gen. Only to though the words about juniors in air and keep the "lachhedar Words" before the civil autority to do some thing for them. what you people have done for jawans. The life of every individual is precious for the nation and his family. Why the MSP is not equal for all the ranks. are Officers are special for the country?. First correct yourself then blame some body else. "Laddu khana chhodo" now jawans are also qulified and educated. What disparity in defence is nowhere in other services. Only thinking about yourself that slove. All the three chiefs have already taken their OROP in sixth pay commission. is This the quality of a leader ?. Enjoy yourself and let the jawans and lower ranks be go to hell. enjoy the "Laddus".Re-think what you have done for your juniors and then write such blogs. Don't make fool to to Jawan as well as to the Govt.

      2. Yes, it's a fact. We can't blame babus for the slavery of jawans. Only Military officers are responsible for the jawans present state. Officers have inherited Tanashahi from Britishers. After 1947, indian civil society got freedom from the Britishers but the the Army is still in the clutches of their descendants.

    2. Ministry of finance is main force behind this dilution. Arms Forces should have accepted separate pay commission under directly under PMO for financial grant. And have pay commission after CPC.

    3. Fine script.eloquently expressed .neta -babu Nexus glaringly visible;committees/commissions are biased and prejudiced. thus ,their actions are open for people/ public scrutiny ,introspection and correction.
      Naturally it is demand of rectification by the mily ,public - people of India.
      netas and babus have not come from heaven. the are peoples representatives .they occupied positions with promises and taken oath .they have to act and resolve. .this action does not require waiting till next elections,till they get rejected.elections come and go. so are netas.The Nation and the institution of mily to keep the nationhood is paramount and permanent .

    4. Well said and well written. But the Polity should not dump these points in the well. Why this much of Hungama for giving status and pay perks to Military? It seems, the nation in totality do not need military and so better do away with Military. No Military, no status and No salary hike.
      For a good Democracy, Military is a must. Think twice and do better for the Services Personnel. Else perish!
      Lt Col Chamarty VLN Rao

    5. This is absolutely ridiculous. This is completely biased writing towards officers. He is comparing selection process of IAS to CDS. We PBORs know how much stuff these defense officers are have. Big Zero they are. My humble request to the author, please not to publish this article which do not have any substance for PBORs.

    6. retired general is twisting the fact. it is the jawans who retire early. officers are allowed to serve upto 57 years of age, just three years before civilian retires. your demand is nfu which is applicable only for officers. have you ever bothered to give some respect and status to jawans. you treat them like your personal servant during service and now in their name wants to get through your agenda of nfu. you may deserve nfu but don't claim to represent jawans. i m a retired sgt. and know your attitudinal problem

      If the writings and opinions expressed in various media including social ones, by men “IN” and “OUT” of uniform is any pointer, the correct inference arising out of such would be, that there is a great amount of despair, disenchantment and discontentment in our fighting forces.
      These cannot be termed as emotional outpouring by some individuals of no consequences nor the disappointment arising out of non implementation of some legitimate demand of the Defence personnel. The root is deeper and involves more grave issues.
      There was a time in India when men in uniform were accorded highest esteem. The C in C was designated 2nd in warrant of precedence, next to the Viceroy, the representative of the sovereign. Of course, system of our government changed from Monarchial to democracy and the office of Viceroy naturally got replaced with that of President of the Republic and the whole warrant of precedence underwent thorough change. Status of Chiefs of 3 wings of defence got relegated to 12th position below that of Attorney General/Cabinet Secretary. To give back them the appropriate status they must be elevated to 7th place (central cabinet Ministers) along with 7A which is Bharat Ratna Awardees. Chiefs may be reassigned the position as 7A and BR awardees 7B. Let us imagine a ceremonial situation where Mr. Sachin Tendulkar, Bharat Ratna, also a Hon. Group Captain of Air Force, is an invitee along with Chiefs of Services and Five Star Generals, Marshal of Air Force or Equivalent in other two wings how embarrassing it would be to place them below Sachin?
      Elevating them to the higher status as mentioned earlier will help restore some lost importance to the position. The responsibility of the defence is much greater than secretaries and Lt Governors. The very existence of the nation is dependent on the loyalty and efficiency of the fighting forces and in that context it is only deserving that warrant commensurate with responsibility is assigned to them.
      No one will disagree that the status of Defence is systematically downgraded over the period. There are over 400 officers of Lt.Gen. Rank officers in police as against 80 or a little more in military. A IPS probationer after a period of about 2 years is granted the status of Lt.Col who has to put up more than 12 years of service to get that rank. The 7 CPC has further placed the defence below even forest service. The result is the present widespread frustration in the rank and file of the forces.
      Adding insult to injury is the apathetic attitude adopted by the Babus of MoD to genuine grievances of the veterans below officers level which constitute the majority of ex servicemen community. For example even court orders granting relief and monetary benefits to them remain unexecuted. Dilution of OROP is one such issue and Delinking of 33 years service for full pension remains unresolved even 6 months after it was effected to civilians in defence service !!. There is no justification for these neglect.
      In the Military History of the world there had never been instances of former and serving Chiefs of Services writing and complaining to the Government about the ill treatment meted out to defence services. If the plethora of articles from retired top brasses like VCOAS , G o C and down to sepoys do not wake the Babus up to the reality and make them act on war footing to resurrect the military to its lost pride and self respect it may be too late to do anything and the whole responsibility will lie with them. The urgency of action takes more serious proportion especially in the context of heightened security threat to the nation and warmongering in the neighboring country.
      A demoralized military will be a defeated military, even before the war begins.

    8. Above mentioned facts are really defamatory of JCO'S And Ors. The cause of it is our own officers for whom Jawan obeys the orders with smile.jawan think that the Officers are not To get insulted due to failure of superior orders.But this type mentally Of offcers really Shameful.when Officers comment A blunder mistakes To Save them selves Call immediately meeting And give the message that It's team work.mothing should leaks out otherwise We all will be behind the War. The movement a soldiers committed A mistake.he punished with Pay deduction or written punishment like Red entry,blueentry,sometime ACR Badly down graded which spoil the carrier Of Sepoy to JCO'S.they Get frustrated and committed serious offense So like that JCO'S and below Ranks Are becoming Chamchasb.and Pass the time.even IHad come across even junior officer like Captain and Major Also become victims of senior Commissioned Officer.So How they can think of Junior.Though All Sepoy to Chief of Arm Forces Staff take a oath that they will safe gaurding welfare of Juniors with out thinking of Self benefits.Sameway JCO'S and Ors Also take oaths To Pay the respect And obeys the orders Of superiors with out any Self benefits.where every things are just opposite. This is most dislikes reasons why why people Of PBOR ranks are Compelled to go On discharge.